tassara ・゚✧'s Reviews > Beautiful World, Where Are You

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2022-popsugar, contemporary, romance

2.5 out of 5 stars. Read for my personal, abbreviated ・゚✧ goodreads choice awards reading challenge ✧゚・.

so sally rooney is just john green for grown-ups, then?

i find it so utterly disappointing when i get glimpses of an author's talent in an otherwise overwhelmingly unsatisfying book. there are some genuinely great passages in this book, and rooney has an incredible knack for capturing the essence of everyday, somewhat mundane human interactions. however, when she intersperses those bright spots with pseudointellectual diatribes that are meant to be relatable (and they are, in essence) but are written in such pretentious, unnatural language, it just turns me off her characters, her story, and even herself. i wish she'd found a better, more organic, less snobbish way to bring up some of the topics her characters are concerned about.

every other chapter is an email written in first-person by two characters who admit to each other to not be very much alike. yet they have almost identical voices/writing styles. ultimately, these chapters do not connect at all to the other content of the book except for a few passing lines wherein the writer updates her friend on the recent events of their lives (events we just witnessed in the previous chapter).

lots of interesting, modern-day thoughts are brought up in these emails -- ethical consumerism, the temporary-ness of human cultures, parasocial relationships, capitalism, etc. -- and, generally speaking, i agreed with the characters (i.e., rooney) on most of these things. but (for example) a page-and-a-half-long rant by a character who is clearly the author's self-insert about how she "despises the publishing industry" for how fake and self-obsessed everyone is and how they shouldn't be writing contemporary novels about "ordinary life" since they've been out of touch with "ordinary life" for so long is just... so... exhausting...

sally rooney's right: it's laughable and irritating to consume commentary on "ordinary life" created by people who are the furthest thing from ordinary, but a 2meta4me tirade from a character about the pathetic ironies of contemporary literature and publishing just feels like some weird, pick-me, i'm-not-like-other-novelists bullshit that took me out of the story and made me feel like the author was venting her own personal frustrations out on me.

as i said, i generally agree with the characters' and the author's stances on the topics they bring up in these emails, but the pretentious, "guy who took PHIL 101 and now thinks he could beat Sartre in a debate" way of discussing those ideas isn't likely to open anyone's eyes or change anyone's mind about those topics. and, as i also said, they were very disconnected from the rest of the story.

anyway, i don't know what i expected from this story, other than a slice-of-life story about a group of twenty-somethings dealing with their various intertwined relationships. and i guess, in a way, i got that. i guess i was just hoping to feel something when i read this book. and i felt... nothing.

full review probably not coming because i have nothing to say about this book other than mehhhhhhh
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Reading Progress

December 9, 2021 – Shelved
February 6, 2022 – Started Reading
February 6, 2022 –
page 240
68.18% "more like "conversations with myself" amiright?????? (p.s., the only character i actually like rn is simon..... is that supposed to happen??)"
February 7, 2022 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Crystal (new)

Crystal "so sally rooney is just john green for grown-ups, then?" I'm dying!

tassara ・゚✧ @ crystal -- lol, it felt like an apt comparison!! interesting ideas and relatable concepts made insufferable by characters who don't talk like real humans?? sounds like my experience reading the fault in our stars 🤷🏾‍♀️

message 3: by Crystal (new)

Crystal I agree. I've never finished a John Greene book and don't intend to try again. Not my jam. Sally Rooney didn't sound like my jam either, but thank you for giving me the words to explain why. 😀

tassara ・゚✧ happy to be of service! 😅

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